Assessment of Scientonomy

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How ought a scientonomic theory be assessed? What conditions ought it satisfy in order to become accepted? What kinds of facts ought to be relevant for assessing a scientonomic theory?

In many branches of contemporary science, theories are required to have confirmed novel predictions to become accepted. Should a scientonomic theory be assessed by its ability to make novel predictions? Alternatively, should it be assessed merely based on its ability to explain past episodes?

In the scientonomic context, this question was first formulated by Hakob Barseghyan in 2015. The question is currently accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by Scientonomy community. Assessment of Scientonomy - Relevant Facts (Barseghyan-2015) is currently accepted by Scientonomy community as the best available theory on the subject. Assessment of Scientonomy - Relevant Facts (Barseghyan-2015) states "At the level of metatheory, the relevant evidence for assessing a scientonomic theory ought to be the facts relating to the state of the scientific mosaic and its transitions. The complete list of relevant phenomena that ought to be considered can only be identified for a specific scientonomic theory."

Prehistory

Previous thinkers on the subject, including Laudan, Popper, and Lakatos, considered theory assessment to be the purpose of methodology.123 A proposed methodology could be used to determine the set of conditions or standards to be met for theory assessment. In turn, this raises the question, by which criteria can one assess a specified methodology? To solve this problem, philosophers proposed metamethodologies. For example, Laudan’s proposed normative naturalism assesses methodology by testing it against the historical record.1 Alternatively, employing the hypothetico-deductive method for testing a methodological thesis can be considered a metamethodology.3 However, each of these approaches begs the question as to how we assess or accept one methamethodology over another. In order to avoid the inevitable infinite regress that results from this process, Lakatos proposed a self-referential approach, whereby a methodology is to be assessed by its own standards.2 Although this closes the loop, Lakatos’ metamethodology risks introducing circularity into one’s reasoning.

Assessment of a theory of scientific change offers some additional challenges to those outlined above. One issue is that, to previous philosophers concerned with theory assessment, determining the mechanism for scientific change is essentially the same as explicating the method of science. One implication is the conflating of the descriptive and normative questions of assessment. In the ensuing confusion, methodology and TSC become indistinguishable.

History

Acceptance Record

Here is the complete acceptance record of this question (it includes all the instances when the question was accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by a community):
CommunityAccepted FromAcceptance IndicatorsStill AcceptedAccepted UntilRejection Indicators
Scientonomy1 January 2016The law became de facto accepted by the community at that time together with the whole theory of scientific change.Yes

All Theories

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Accepted Theories

According to our records, no theory on this topic has ever been accepted.

Suggested Modifications

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Current View

In Scientonomy community, the accepted theory on the subject is Assessment of Scientonomy - Relevant Facts (Barseghyan-2015). It states: "At the level of metatheory, the relevant evidence for assessing a scientonomic theory ought to be the facts relating to the state of the scientific mosaic and its transitions. The complete list of relevant phenomena that ought to be considered can only be identified for a specific scientonomic theory." Some facts ought to be relevant to the assessment of a theory because the content of the theory itself implies their relevance, and others ought to be relevant simply by definition. When assessing a theory concerning scientific change, relevant facts that ought necessarily to be considered include questions pertinent to scientific change processes. For example: What theories and methods were part of the scientific mosaic of the community in question, both before and after the instance of scientific change? What modifications were proposed and what parts of the mosaic did they intend to replace? Which of these modifications became accepted into the mosaic, and how? Read More

Open Questions

The following related topic(s) currently lack an accepted answer:

Related Topics

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This topic is also related to the following topic(s):

References

  1. a b  Laudan, Larry. (1987) Relativism, Naturalism and Reticulation. Synthese 71 (3), 221-234.
  2. a b  Lakatos, Imre. (1971) History of Science and Its Rational Reconstructions. In Lakatos (1978a), 102-138.
  3. a b  Nola, Robert and Sankey, Howard. (2007) Theories of Scientific Method. McGill-Queen's University Press.

Contributors

Hakob Barseghyan (65.2%), Paul Patton (34.8%)